tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 14, 2016 6:40am-7:01am EST
and i can't do that because michelle would kill me. [ applause ] so -- but look, just as all this talk about how the american economy is terrible is just not true, it's also not true when you hear folks talking about how america's so weak. we aren't just the strongest economy in the world, we are far and away the most powerful nation on the planet. [ cheers and applause ] nobody can match our troops. nobody can match what we can do to mobilize, to solve problems around the world. and when i said that, by the way, last night, it was strange that some in the chamber didn't agree and applaud with that. i mean, you know, that's kind of a weird thing. i didn't say that it's the strongest in the world because
of me. i mean, i understand why they wouldn't want to give me credit for it. which is true. it's because the united states of america for 250, you know, years has been -- has been working to make us the strongest. but that should not be a controversial statement. right? we can all clap about that. [ cheers and applause ] but that's how crazy our politics has gotten sometimes, right? that's how crazy our politics have gotten. where we now feel obliged to not root for america doing good. so when you hear people pedaling this fiction about our enemies getting stronger, america getting weaker, when you hear
folks say we can, you know, solve challenges just by looking meaner and talking tougher. or carpet bombing wherever we want. you know? that's just hot air. it's bluster. it's -- [ cheers and applause ] it's not serious. it's not serious. you know? there's another word for it that starts with a "b." it's baloney. now, because we're the strongest nation, we've got choices to make about how we use our power. priority number one is protecting the american people and going after terrorist networks. that's what we're doing with isil. and for more than a year, america's led a coalition of more than 60 countries. we're cutting off their financing. we're disrupting their plots. we're stopping the flow of
terrorist fighters, we're stamping out their ideology. we've had 10,000 air strikes, we're taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camping, their weapons. and they will learn the same lessons the terrorists before them have learned. which is when you come after americans, we go after you. and it may take time, but our reach has no limits and we will get you. we'll get you. [ cheers and applause ] but our foreign policy has to also have judgment and wisdom. and we can't try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into a crisis. so what i suggested last night is we have to have a patient and disciplined strategy. it's got to use every element of our national power. it says america will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies.
but on a lot of world problems from climate change to ebola to iran getting a nuclear weapon, we'll mobilize the world to work with us. and make sure countries pull their own weight so we're not sending our troops and spending our money every time there's a problem around the world. that's not a lack of leadership, that's common sense. [ cheers and applause ] that's how we led 200 nations to forge the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change. that's how -- that's how we've gotten iran to roll back its nuclear program. they're shipping out their nuclear materials right now. that's how we dealt with the
ebola crisis. our troops, doctors, development workers, all outstanding. their courage. they set up the logistics so other countries could then come in. you had chinese planes who couldn't land before because of our military sending up the landing strip could then come in and support the effort to stamp out the spread of ebola. and we couldn't be prouder of the doctors and nurses, including here at the university of nebraska medical center who treated and cared for patients. [ cheers and applause ] they save lives, not just here, but their courage saved lives around the world because they showed that, you know what? wewe can deal with this. it's a problem. it's serious. we're going to science the heck
out of it. and as a consequence, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people's lives were saved. that's how america leads. that's the strength of our values. that's the power of our example. and that's why -- that's why we have to reject any politics -- any politics that targets people because of their race or their religion. [ cheers and applause ] that we have to reject. that we have to reject. [ cheers and applause ] that we've got no room for. and i want to be clear about this, this is not -- this is not about being politically correct. now, since i'm on a college
campus, i'll tell you, sometimes -- i understand the argument about political correctness. there are times where, you know, folks don't want to hear something and they just shut things down. if somebody doesn't agree with affirmative action, that's a legitimate policy difference. that doesn't mean they're racist. if somebody, you know, has a agreement about my economic policies, we can have a discuss about that. you know? there should never be a situation on college campuses, for example, where people can't speak at all. right? [ applause ] you know, the first amendment is important. the first amendment is valuable. so we do have to be cautious about suggesting that any time somebody says something, you know, we shut them down. but let me say this, that
doesn't mean that you go around insulting people. and thinking that that is clever. or that is being honest or telling it straight. no, that's just being offensive. and that's feeding some much our worst difficulties. and that does not make us strong. that doesn't make us strong. and that doesn't help us fight terrorism, by the way. you know, when politicians insult muslims, including muslim-americans, including muslim americans who are in uniform fighting on our behalf behalf -- [ cheers and applause ] when a mosque -- when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is bullied, that doesn't make us safer. it doesn't make us safer.
the overwhelming majority of muslim americans and muslims around the world, they're our greatest allies in fighting this scourge of terrorism. [ cheers and applause ] so it doesn't make us stronger, it doesn't help the effort. it is wrong and it betrays who we are as a country. one people who rise and fall together. and that -- that is -- when i think back to my -- to the arc of my entire political career, that's one i i thing that i bele more firmly than anything. the fact that we are in this together. that's what makes america great. [ applause ] friends, on the flight over
here -- on the flight over here brad was telling me about his grandfather. his grandfather was from sweden. and, you know, they're -- you're midwest, you know, we've got some folks with swedish extraction. and he was telling me about how his grandfather helped to set up an organization that was pretty well known at the time back in the '30s and '40s that was critical in fighting anti-semitism and helping to bring jews who were escaping hitler and nazi germany. and i thought about brad's grandfather as just one example of all the stories in the history of this country that have made us the envy of the world. that have made us that -- that shining city on a hill. it's not just that we've got a big military. it's not just that we've got a
great economy. it's that in fits and starts we figured out that if you treat everybody with respect and you give everybody a shot and everybody's working together, everybody's better off. everybody's stronger. everybody's religion is protected. [ cheers and applause ] everybody's point of view is heard. and that's what we have to remember. and that's the last question that we have to answer. and the most important one. how do we infuse those principles into our politics? and i said this yesterday and i meant it. i have really enjoyed being president and i'm going to squeeze every last thing i can get out of it over this next year. [ cheers and applause ] but -- but, look.
probably -- probably my only big regret is that our parties are even more polarized. our politicses politics are even more rancorous than seven years ago. i'm going to try to do better to see if i can break the fever here. but it's not going to happen unless the american people send a clear message to their elected officials that that's not the kind of politics we want. [ cheers and applause ] and there are some -- and i just -- well, i can say that -- i say this. as somebody who's never going to be on the ballot again, there's some institutional things we have to fix. i think we need to end political gerrymandering so congressmen aren't choosing their own voters.
that divides people. if you have a congressional district that's 80% democrat or republican, then you don't feel obliged to talk to people who don't agree with you. and that's a problem. i think we have to end just the crazy amount of money, much of it's hidden, that's in our political system right now. [ cheers and applause ] i believe -- i believe -- i believe that there should not be a single state in which we're making it harder for people to vote instead of easier. that doesn't make any sense. we're not supposed to be a nation in which we discourage people from participating. this country works by encouraging people to have a voice in their government.
which means that -- over the course of this year is talk about why is it that we should have a single mom who's got a nurse, let's say. just like lisa's mom was. she might have to take public transportation, get up early, go to her job, fix breakfast. now she's got to pick up the kids, or drop off the kids, come home. and she's got to vote on a tuesday. why wouldn't we want to make it so that she's got a little more time to vote? why are we making it impossible for her? and a lot of states are doing it. a lot of states are doing is. but that's how it should be in every state. because none of these things that i just talked about can
happen just by a president saying so. any president. whoever replaces me is not going to be able to get all that done unless the american people demand is. demand it. when we as citizens demand it. that's what i said back in 2008. i didn't say, yes, i can. i said yes, we can. [ applause ] i asked you not to believe in my ability to bring about change. i asked for you to believe in your ability to bring about change. [ cheers and applause ] and as i said last night, i know it's hard. sometimes it's frustrating. but if we don't accept that responsibility and that privilege of citizenship, and we accept the cynicism that says,
oh, change can't happen and politics is pointless and our voices and our actions don't matter, then we're going to foresake a better future. and the void will be filled by folks with money and power and special interests. and they're going to gain more and more control over decisions about whether young people are being sent to war. they will be unfettered in pursuing policies that might lead to another economic crisis. they might roll back rights that generations of americans fought to secure. and then when people get more and more frustrated because things don't change, you start hearing voices that urge us to fall back into our respective tribes and start scapegoating our fellow citizens. folks who don't vote like us or pray like we do. we can't go down that path so omaha, whatever you believe, whether you are a democrat or a republican or you don't believe
in political parties, whether you supported me or you didn't, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as citizens. to vote and to speak out and to stand up for others. especially those who are vulnerable. especially those who need help. knowing that we are only here because somebody else did that for us. that's how all of us are here. and when we do that, we will see the goodness and the decency and the optimism of people like lisa reflecting itself in washington. that's what we're fighting for. and i know it's there because i see it in the american people every day. [ cheers and applause ] i see it every day. i see it in all the students. first generation college students. working hard and scrimping and saving and eating ramen.
and eating some more ramen just to get ahead. and you have teachers like lisa who come in early and helping young people cultivate a passion or mast a new skill that can change their life. and parents volunteering at local schools, not just to help out their own kids, but the neighborhood kids. and folks coaching little league, and businesses doing the right thing by their employees, and folks fighting on our behalf halfway around the world and their families who are sacrificing alongside them. and folks working to help our veterans after they have been served. big-hearted, optimistic people. they're everywhere in coffee shops and churches all across nebraska and in louisiana and in new york and in arizona and every place else. folks who is spirit has built america. that's why i'm hopeful about our future. because of you, the american
people. because of folks like all of you i am absolutely confident that we're going to get to where we need to go. and america will remain the greatest country on earth. thank you, everybody, god bless you. ♪ >> today on c-span, washington journal is live with your tweets and facebook comments. later, live president obama holding a town hall in baton rouge, louisiana. and congressional leaders hold a press conference at their party retreat in baltimore. matthew lee of the associated press in 45 minutes on the implementation of the iran nuclear deal. then president obama's economic record with the economic policy institute and george mason